Smells of sheep from the nearby agriculture building fill the hot August air. Conversations of vendors buzz loudly as they peddle their wares inside the industrial building near the entrance to the Iowa State Fair, where more than a million people attend the 11-day event in Des Moines. Amid the din, Redd Watson, a red-headed foundry worker in Fairfield, and his wife, Jill, join a group of volunteers from different churches manning the Creation booth from the Answers in Genesis Outreach Team.
Jill shows her brother, Tim Rethmeier, how to use GodTools while they wait to receive the Iowa Century Award for the Donald Rethmeier family farm from the Iowa Department of Agriculture.
Redd loves talking with people but has wrestled with getting tongue-tied when talking about Christ. But today he might try out a new approach he just heard about.
About midday, a young family of four approaches Redd at the Creation booth. “Can you tell us about Creation?” they asked.
Redd learns the parents’ names (John and Mary) and engages in conversation with them and their son and little daughter, discussing the Creation narrative from Genesis 1. Finally, Redd asks, “Do you know the Mighty God who created the Earth?”
“We have been thinking about God and have been doing some research,” John responds.
“I know God as my personal Savior,” says Redd. He gives them a brief account of how he came to trust Jesus at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in high school, where he played football and wrestled.
The noise level in the industrial building roars, making hearing difficult. But as Redd opens his phone and shows the app to John and Mary, everything surrounding them seems to quiet, as though a bubble has formed around them. “It was kind of spooky,” Redd remembers. “My friends could see us talking, but they couldn’t hear what we were saying. But we could hear each other easily.”
Jill displays the Four Spiritual Laws on GodTools to a couple who stop by the Creation booth.
Redd describes “the chair” illustration in the Four Spiritual Laws. The imagery helps the viewer see whether they are directing their life or if Jesus is in control.
Pointing to the app’s illustration of “the chair,” which describes who is in control of a person’s life, from the Four Spiritual Laws, Redd asks, “Who is on the chair in your lives?”
“We are, but we would like to see God there,” John says.
“Would you like to pray and accept Christ as your Lord and Savior?” Redd asks as he shows an example prayer in the GodTools app.
“Yes!” John and Mary answer. They huddle together and pray.
“Finally, someone showed us the way to do it,” says John, referring to having a personal relationship with Christ. They shake hands and hug.
“Here’s my phone number,” Redd says. “Give me a call sometime.”
After John and Mary walk away, Redd turns to his friends and sits down, feeling drained because of the emotional experience he just had. “I started bawling,” Redd recalls, reflecting on how he so clearly saw God working.
About a week later, John and Mary call Redd to say they are looking for a church. They thank him for helping them find Christ.
Before this encounter, Redd had never guided anyone to the decision to ask Jesus into his or her life. “I meet a lot of people. I’m outgoing and talk to anybody, but I would get tongue-tied,” says Redd. “I didn’t know how to share. I have found that GodTools is a good way for me to stay on track.”
Redd indicates a suggested prayer to pray to have a life directed by Christ.
Redd and Jill attend a service at their church, Bonaparte Baptist. They first learned about GodTools when Cru® staff member Jon Vellacott visited the church.
Prior to the fair, Jon Vellacott, a Cru® staff member, talked with Redd at his church, Bonaparte Baptist Church, and told him about GodTools. Redd didn’t feel he knew how to use technology that well. So he asked Jon to download the free smartphone app for him. Afterward, Jon showed Redd step-by-step how to use the app to talk with someone. “GodTools helps to show people how to know Christ,” says Redd. “Once you get to the last part with ‘the chair,’ I tell people that we can pray the [example] prayer [on the GodTools app] or that I can disciple you.”
Redd continues to talk with people at work and has taken a couple of them through the GodTools app.
Jill rides her horse, Selah, on their Iowa farm.
Redd, a member of the Iowa Trappers Association, holds a fox pelt. He has a passion for trapping and hunting and makes and sells traps.
Connie Morris — a children’s Sunday School teacher at Redd and Jill’s church — and her husband, Raymond, also volunteered at the Creation booth when Redd spoke with John and Mary.
Connie told Jill that GodTools is a way that she, describing herself as “an old lady,” can connect with the younger generation and show them that this information is relevant to them. In addition, Connie said that GodTools helps her focus on the person, rather than thinking about what to say next, because the app outlines the gospel.
Connie Morris uses GodTools in her Sunday School class. She says, “It is easier to focus on the person rather than thinking about what to say next, since the gospel is so clearly laid out in GodTools.”
Using Scripture verses, illustrations and guiding questions, GodTools presents the good news of Jesus in a concise way that offers an opportunity to make a decision to trust Christ. Available in more than 70 languages, the app helps people share the love of Jesus anywhere you can use a phone, including places in the world known to resist Christianity.
To see how you can use GodTools or how to download the app, watch the short video below.
The app also contains other resources:
Honor Restored explains the good news of Christ from the perspective of honor and shame.
Satisfied? enables Christians to understand how to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.
Questions to ponder
Where do you begin when it comes to talking to others about Jesus?
How does fear keep you from talking about Jesus with others?
How does prayer help conquer fear of spiritual conversations?
Who are the friends and family who might look at the GodTools app with you? When can you plan to meet with them?
Over the past two years, Jill and Redd have used GodTools and continue to show people how to use the app.
For more resources on how to share your faith, prepare your testimony or help someone to grow in their faith, visit the Train & Grow section of cru.org.
Jan serves as a journalist with Cru®. She has had an interest in creative writing ever since her high school newspaper column days. She hopes to inspire hearts toward Christ.
Tom is a photographer with Cru®. He loves seeing beautiful sights out of airplane windows and enjoys meeting new friends all over the world. His wife, Karen, travels with him whenever possible, which makes every trip even better. Tom has been photographing for more than 40 years.